Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sacred Space: Basilica of Agony

The Basilica of the Agony, photograph by Hans Mast

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed long into the night. The Basilica of the Agony is built at the foot of the Mount of Olives, near this garden. I like it that there is a church to mark Jesus' dark night.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Revelation

Amar-elo, by Nanda Correa

"I am Protennoia, the Thought that dwells in the Light. I am the movement that dwells in the All, she in whom the All takes its stand, the first-born among those who came to be, she who exists before the All....I am incomprehensible, dwelling in the incomprehensible. I move in every creature...

I am the real Voice. I cry out in everyone, and they recognize it (the voice), since a seed indwells them." 
    —excerpt from Trimorphic Protennoia, translated by John D. Turner

I'm fascinated by revelations. Somehow whenever revelatory in-spiration strikes, there is an element of creativity to it—playful, heretical, perhaps not the whole truth. How many revelations have been excluded from sacred scriptures because they don't quite match what religious leaders expect to hear? This creative aspect of transcendent experience is something I can't stop thinking about. To be willing to receive a revelation means to be willing to revise what is true. And if you keep revising "truth," what is true? 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blue

by Joan Miro

"The gods live in a blue place of metaphor... 

The mind from the beginning must be based in the blue firmament, like the lazuli stone and sapphire throne on mysticism, the azure heaven of Boehme, philos sophia. The blue firmament is an image of cosmological reason; it is a mythical place that gives metaphorical support to metaphysical thinking... 

Alchemy begins... in the blue vault, the seas, in the mind's thinking in images, imagining ideationally, speculatively, silveredly, in words that are both images and ideas, ... the blue power of the word itself, which locates this consciousness in the throat of the visuddha cakra whose dominant color is a smoky purple-blue.

...Your mind moves in the caelum, touches the constellations, the thick and hairy skull opens to let in more light, their light, making possible a new idea of order, a cosmological imagination whose thought accounts for the cosmos in the forms of images."

    —from "Blue," by James Hillman

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Creative Work of Hope

Mechanitis butterfly chrysalis
(no attribution that I can find on the internet...)

Hope is a word that has been floating around on the surface of my awareness lately. Here are some of my encounters with the word:

"Hope is not an emotion, but hope is a cognitive, behavioral process that we learn when we experience adversity, when we have relationships that are trustworthy, when people have faith in our ability to get out of a jam." (Brené Brown on the work of C. R. Snyder, in her interview with Krista Tippet)

"I do like that . . . idea of hope as a function of struggle. It's almost like, you know, it would be counterintuitive, counterculturally, to say we need to struggle with this honestly, vulnerability, to cultivate the hope that we need to figure out what's next." (Krista Tippet in her interview with BrenĂ© Brown)

"There was a theologian from the mid-1900s who kind of described hope as an attitude toward the future that we cannot see, but we trust that somehow it's held by God and that there are possibilities beyond what we can even imagine." (Father Mike Surufka in his interview on Losing Our Religion)

Hope used to mean something escapist and fantastical to me, but lately I've been seeing it more as hard work, as practice in walking the invisible path. Hope has become a constructive enterprise that calls for creativity—anticipating future possibilities with the attitude of an artist who has seen the final creation in her head—as well as vulnerability—accepting the possibility of hope unfulfilled. Hope, these days any way, is a truly brave act.

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